In early 2019, they were experiencing a high level of sick leave among healthcare staff in the elderly care sector in the municipality of Varde in Denmark. It was particularly discomfort in the neck and shoulder area that was suspected of being the main cause of the sick leave. Therefore, the Workplace Assesment Team set out a project to explore if replacing manual moving and handling aids with VENDLET systems could provide a solution to the problem.
At the beginning of 2019 the Depot Manager, Preben Madsen, and the Workplace Assesment Team, who is in charge of securing proper workplace health and safety among the municipality’s employees, began a 10-week project.
“Our focus was on relieving the physical strain on the healthcare staff while also improving the comfort for the clients,” Preben Madsen says. “We specifically chose not to include the time spend on a single transfer or positioning, because it was the two other elements that were important to us,” he says.
In the municipality, they had previous experience with the VENDLET system, but it had yet to become a widespread part of the care in the nursing homes in the municipality.
A total of 7 systems were installed at one single care home in the small town of Ølgod. The clients chosen to take part in the project were already using another type of moving and handling aid.
“Even if the clients were able to help a little themselves, we could still see the benefits of using the VENDLET system,“ Says Ann Hagelskær, who is a part of the Workplace Assesment Team. However, it was primarily the staff themselves that got to choose the clients that were to take part in the project.
Watch more about the project in this video.
Before the 7 VENDLET systems were installed, a single system was mounted on a vacant bed, for the staff to practice on. Here, they also received training from a consultant from Vendlet. This made it possible to fend off some of the initial worries and insecurities the staff had with using the VENDLET system. The initial training was also followed up by regular visits.
“In the beginning, we were there more often to remove some of those small things that the staff were worried about,” Annette, who is also a part of the Workplace Assesment Team in Varde municipality, says.
This approach meant, that the staff quickly became comfortable with the VENDLET systems.
Before the start of the project, the staff was asked to fill out a questionnaire, which for instance asked how straining they felt the different turning systems they were already using.
When the 10 weeks were up, the staff was again asked to fill out another questionnaire. The results of the two evaluations were compared. A total of 24 employees filled out both the preliminary and the final questionnaires.
The results showed that the staff was pleased to use the VENDLET systems. Already after a week, the Workplace Assesment Team received positive feedback from staff that could really feel a difference.
”After we’ve changed systems, I have fewer days with headaches from straining my shoulders,” Marianne, a healthcare assistant, shares. When the systems were first introduced, she was sceptical, but this was quickly changed: “Now I definitely don’t want to get rid of them,” she says.
And her colleague, Charlotte, agrees. She also felt that not having to push and pull on clients was relieving her elbow, which previously was a source of pain.
The intensive 10-week project with training and implementation of the systems meant that the staff quickly became experienced in using it and that both they and the clients quickly saw the benefits.
“We would like to do another project in exactly the same way again because we can see that implementing more systems at once in the same care home really pays off,” Ann Hagelskær states.
Also, Depot Manager, Preben Madsen, is receiving more and more inquiries from other care homes who want to be next. “For the staff, it has meant that they are now more aware, that there is another aid, that is better for them as well,” he says.
One thing is for sure; the will to do another project is there: “As far as the project goes, we want to do it in the exact same way again as soon as we have the money because it has been a major success,” Preben shares.